Easter 2011 happens to fall in the Year of the Rabbit, adding to the fun of this springtime holiday.  Here are highlights of some of San Francisco’s Easter-related events and activities.  For information on other events taking place on Easter weekend, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel/calendar.

The 20th Annual Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade
Union Street is preparing for its 20th annual Easter Parade & Spring Celebration. On Sunday, April 24, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.   San Francisco’s renowned shopping district will host a full day of free events, activities, entertainment and a wildly popular Easter Bonnet Contest. Everyone is invited to partake in the festivities and, of course, a very special bunny will make an appearance with a number of his friends.

Affectionately dubbed the “Biggest Little Parade in San Francisco,” the Union Street Easter Parade is not to be missed. Beginning at 2:00 p.m., as many as 45 units with hundreds of enthusiastic participants including everything from vintage cars, rainbow-clad stilt walkers to flamboyant floats and costumed characters will make their way the five blocks down Union Street from Gough to Fillmore.  This year’s parade includes entries from the California Outdoor Rollersports Association, Ride the Ducks Duckmobile, San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures, Alice Radio, Lush Cosmetics, The Enchanted Crystal and more.  The public is invited to join in the parade for free.

As many as 30,000 people are expected to attend this beloved neighborhood event.  The lineup this year includes a juggler, well known children’s singer, a clown and numerous activities including photos with the Easter Bunny, Jest Jewels Bubble Wrap Jump, face painting by the Fairy Dusters, the SPCA van, San Francisco Library Bookmobile and cupcakes from That Takes the Cake, Kingdom Cake and Kara’s Cupcakes.  There will be children’s rides, bounce houses and arts and crafts activities. Outdoor bistro dining by local Union Street restaurants like Betelnut and Perry’s, along with intriguing world cuisine options from Vietnam and India, to Thailand and China will be available during the daylong event.  Everyone can show their creative side with the ever popular Easter Bonnet Contest. Children, pets and adults are all invited to create zany, elegant or outrageous hats for this unique contest. Judging occurs 11:15am-1:15pm and the winners will be announced at the conclusion of the parade.

The events main stage at Buchanan Street will play host to a variety of family entertainers.

Most Union Street merchants will be open, and some will have special activities, including costumed characters and special promotions. For more information, visit www.unionstreet.com or call (800) 310-6563. Media contact: Sandra Evans, sandra@andassociates-ca.com, (415) 887-9230

Grace Cathedral
This renowned San Francisco landmark, part of the Episcopal Diocese of California,  serves as a regional magnet where diverse people gather to celebrate, seek solace, converse and learn.  Founded in 1849, the current structure was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation.

Easter Services will include Choral Eucharist at 8:30 a.m., Choral Eucharist with Brass and Tympani at 11 a.m., and Contemplative Eucharist on the Labyrinth at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.gracecathedral.org or call (415) 749-6300. Media contact:  Heidi K. Zuhl, heidiz@gracecathedral.org, (415) 749-6364

California Academy of Sciences
On Easter weekend, visit the chirping spring chicks on display at the California Academy of Sciences for Spring to Life (March 14 – May 1).  Their “peeps” are not made of marshmallow, but will fill the Piazza with the sounds of new life. Surrounded by larger than life blades of grass in the Piazza, an incubator and hatchery for live chicks will showcase the chicken’s life cycle.  Visitors can also stroll through Egg Alley, an immersive display of stunning eggs & nests from the Academy’s research collections.  Meanwhile, artist Michael Bartalos will embark on a month-long project, giving new life to used cardboard by creating unique animal sculptures from material supplied by visitors. Bartalos’ installation will be completed as onlookers watch, and unveiled at NightLife on April 21, remaining on display for the duration of Spring to Life.  For more information, visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000. Media contact: Helen Taylor, htaylor@calacademy.org, (415) 379-5128

DINING, SHOPPING & CELEBRATIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Ghirardelli Square
Easter festivities will take place throughout Ghirardelli Square at Fisherman’s Wharf.  Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop is offering special Easter Egg Gift Pails with an assortment of Ghirardelli Filled Chocolate Eggs. The specialty chocolate shop is offering the eggs in an assortment of flavors including Caramel, Peanut Butter or Crisps.  Four bags for  $20.    For more information, call (415) 474-3938.

Kara’s Cupcakes will be offering sweet specials for spring including two inspired cupcakes: Spring Chick: Vanilla cupcake filled with passion fruit and cream cheese frosting, rolled in coconut and Hazelnut Crunch: Vanilla Cupcake with Caramelized Hazelnut Buttercream, adorned with a festive sugar Easter Bunny.  For more information, call (415) 351-CAKE.

Special items of the season at Lola of North Beach include stuffed Easter bunnies by London-made “Jellycat,” elegant Peter Rabbit party ware, gifts by Meri Meri and nostalgic papier- mâché eggs handmade in Germany.  For more information, call (415) 567-7760

Peekadoodle is offering their fourth annual Easter Egg Hunt.  The club will open at 4:00 p.m. for kids of all ages to hunt for eggs, pose for photos with the Easter Bunny and enjoy sips and nibbles with friends and family. Member price: $40 per family (2 adults + 1 child).  Non-member price: $50 per family (2 adults + 1 child). Price per extra person: $10.  Easter baskets available for $3 each with advance purchase (limited supply). For more information, call (415) 440-PEEK. For information on all events at Ghirardelli Square, visit www.ghirardellisq.com. Media contact: Natalie Pavich, Cinch PR, nataliep@cinchpr.com, (415) 392-2235

Gospel Brunch at 1300 Fillmore
San Francisco’s famous Gospel Brunch in Fillmore’s live music district is sure to move and sooth you with music from the band Future Perfect.  A Southern-inspired a la carte menu is offered, with a $5 music surcharge. Seatings are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  For more information, visit www.1300fillmore.com or call (415) 771-7100. Media contact: Monetta White, Monetta@1300fillmore.com, (415) 601-4272

The Fairmont San Francisco
Both children and adults can savor a memorable Easter Sunday this year at the Fairmont San Francisco.  Kids can take delight in the Easter Bunny’s appearances, an egg hunt in the Fountain Room and entertainment by a balloon artist, while adults can indulge in a delectable buffet or elegant afternoon tea at The Fairmont San Francisco.

The Crown Room: Offering a breathtaking view of San Francisco from atop Nob Hill, the Crown Room is an ideal setting to enjoy a luxurious Easter buffet brunch.  Guests will be able to experience magnificent cuisine, relaxing music by a harpist and an unforgettable panoramic outlook.

Executive Chef jW Foster will present a tantalizing spread that includes an assortment of breakfast specialties, chilled seafood, carved meats and cheeses, enticing entrees, gourmet salads and decadent desserts.  Adults can toast the occasion with complimentary sparkling wine and children will receive a bag of Easter treats to commemorate the special day.

The Easter Brunch Buffet will be served from 10 am to 2 pm and costs $109 plus tax and gratuity per adult, $54.50 plus tax and gratuity per child age 6 through 12, and is free for children age 5 and under.

The Laurel Court: The recently refurbished Laurel Court will offer a graceful backdrop for those seeking to experience its famed afternoon tea from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.  The Easter Tea is $49 plus tax and gratuity per adult, $25 plus tax and gratuity per child age 6 through 12, and free for children age 5 and under.  A glass of sparkling wine or cider and festive Easter treats will also await guests in the Laurel Court.
For more information, visit www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco.  For reservations, call (415) 772-5000.  Media contact: Melissa Farrar, Melissa.farrar@fairmont.com, (415) 772-5041

Hyatt Regency San Francisco
In celebration of this most jelly bean-related holiday, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco and its family-friendly Eclipse Cafe have partnered with Jelly Belly Candy Company to create a uniquely-festive mood.

During the entire month of April, 2011, the hotel’s expansive atrium lobby will be home to 25 oversized Jelly Bellies (each nearly five feet in length) as well as exclusive jellybean art, including images of the California Grizzly, Marilyn Monroe and George Clooney.  For the entire Easter weekend, Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24, visitors to the hotel will also enjoy participating in the Jelly Belly “Beanboozle” game whereby random flavors will be dispensed to participants.

To complement the over-the-top décor and “Beanboozle” game, the hotel’s Eclipse Café will feature a Jelly Belly-inspired Easter Brunch, served on Sunday, April 24, 6 -11:30 a.m.  For $23 per person, guests will enjoy a sumptuous buffet including special Jelly Belly treats for the kids.   Eclipse Café will also offer a more formal, three-course plated menu,   11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., for a price of $35 per person. �
For information, call (415) 788-1234. Media contact: Molly Blaisdell, mollyb22@gmail.com(925) 300-7252

Imagine Sailing
For Easter, Imagine Sailing Tours offers a “Special Sailing Charter,” priced at $625 for up to 10 people.  Children accompanied by their parents or their adult family members can sail to Angel Island for an Easter Egg Hunt and barbeque.  A CD or DVD commemorating the event is included. For more information, visit www.imaginesailingtours.com. Media contact: Captain Dennis, imaginesailing22@yahoo.com, (916) 813-8285 or (916) 359-8285.

Palace Hotel �
The Palace Hotel is a perfect place to celebrate tradition and spend the Easter holiday in style.  Enjoy a decadent buffet, sparkling wine and live jazz. Special children’s entertainment includes face painting, magic and of course, a visit from the Easter Bunny!

There will be two seatings in the Garden Court, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and ongoing seatings in the Grand Ballroom, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Prices are $98 for adults and $68 for children 5 to 12 years of age. For more information, visit www.sfpalace.com. Media contact:  Renee Roberts, reneerobertsinc@aol.com, (650) 652-9939

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Enjoy Easter at one of San Francisco’s most celebrated destinations, the Top of the Mark and dine to live entertainment with views of San Francisco as the backdrop. On Sunday, April 24, 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., Top of the Mark hosts a classic brunch buffet by Chef Christophe Depuichaffray.  Top of the Mark’s Easter Brunch also includes live entertainment by local Jazz musician Michael Athans on piano and vocals and the Easter Bunny will make a special appearance between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Adults are $99 per person and children between 4 and 12 are $59. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. For reservations, call (415) 616-6940.  For more information, visit www.topofthemark.com. Media contact: Alex Cave, alex@wagstaffworldwide.com, (415) 274-2510 ext. 17

Westin St. Francis
On Saturday, April 23, 2 – 4 p.m., children will have the opportunity to decorate hardboiled Easter eggs at a special station created just for the little ones. Easter punch will be served and each child will depart with a gourmet chocolate Easter bunny. Children will need to provide their own Easter egg basket. This event is open the public; $15 per child; available for children ages 5 – 10.  Parents must be present. Reservations are required and taken on a first-come, first-served basis. To make reservations, call (415) 774-0112.

On Easter Sunday, the Westin St. Francis will present their traditional Easter Egg Roll, 12-12:30 p.m. and Easter Bonnet Parade, 12:30-1 p.m. During the egg roll race, children will attempt to quickly move colorfully decorated hardboiled eggs with a long-handled spoon. At the conclusion of the egg roll, families will get to show off their Easter best in a parade through the hotel. These events are complimentary and open exclusively to overnight hotel guests and those attending brunch in the Oak Room Restaurant.

Easter Brunch will be served at 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Oak Room & Lounge.  A spectacular Easter buffet brunch will feature an array of delectable fare including a made-to-order omelet station, sushi, seasonal fruits, cheeses, hand-carved meats, a selection of pastries and more. Price: $67.50 for Adults; $33 for Children 12 and under (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (415) 774-0264. Media contact: Gena Egelston, gena.egelston@westin.com, (415) 774-0118

OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO

Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa
The Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa will be offering a special Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy stunning views of San Francisco Bay, live piano music, complimentary Champagne and a delicious meal from award-wining Executive Chef Josh Thomsen for $89 per person, kids 12 and under are complimentary. Kids will also have the opportunity to take photos with the Easter bunny throughout the day!  For more information, visit www.claremont-hotel.com. Media contact: Corina Chapman, Wagstaff Worldwide, corina@wagstaffworldwide.com , (415) 274-2510, ext. 16

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Easter weekend at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has been a family tradition for generations of discerning travelers and Sonoma Valley residents. On Easter Sunday, April  24, 2011 between 10 am and 6 pm the resort’s Michelin Star adorned signature dining room, Santé will be serving an extravagant Easter Sunday Buffet complemented by live entertainment. The cost of the holiday buffet is $89 (plus tax and gratuities) for adults, $44.50 for children ages 6-12 and complimentary for children 5 and under.   Back by popular demand, the resort will host two traditional children’s Easter Egg Hunts at both 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Monsieur Easter Bunny, a balloon artist and clown, will also join the festivities 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and again 2 p.m.-4 p.m.  For reservations, call (707) 938-9000.  For more information, visit www.fairmont.com/sonoma. Media contact: Michelle Heston, michelle.heston@fairmont.com, (707) 939- 2477

For general information on hotel packages and reservations; events; activities and transportation in San Francisco, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel. For lodging reservations, call 800-637-5196 within North America or (415) 391-2000 or (415) 392-0328 (TTY/TTD) elsewhere.

The San Francisco Visitors Planning Guide is available at the Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St., at the corner of Powell and Market streets, lower level, Hallidie Plaza.  A virtual edition of the guide is also available online: http://guides.weaver-group.com/sf/ovg2/2010/ A visitor’s kit may also be ordered online at www.sanfrancisco.travel, by phone at (415) 391-2000 or (415) 392-0328 (TTY/TTD), by written request to the San Francisco Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, or via email to vic1@sanfrancisco.travel.  Domestic and international shipping charges apply.

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Laurie Armstrong
Director, Media Relations – US & Canada
(415) 227-2615
larmstrong@sanfrancisco.travel
Angela Jackson
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